Cut less than ten trees and plant thrice the number of trees cut, directed

Kerala High Court: In the instant case before the Court, where the petitioner- an environmental educator, challenged the order of the State Government to lease out 2 / 5.5 acres of the land of the Government School to the Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority (TRIDA) for construction of a bus-bay and shopping complex, a division bench of Ashok Bhushan CJ and A.M. Shaffique J refused to quash the order of leasing out of the land and directed TRIDA to construct bus-bay and shopping complex on the land of Government School without hampering functioning of the school and green cover of the area.

The Counsel for the petitioner P.B. Sahasranaman, contended that the transfer of the land of Government School to TRIDA violates Section 5 B of the Kerala Education Act, 1958. The Counsel further contended that the construction of bus-bay and commercial complex will affect the environment as it would involve cutting of trees at large scale. Per Contra, the Counsel for the respondent contended that the construction activities will not reduce any facility now enjoyed by the school and that the same will not cause any hindrance to the working of the school.

After perusal of Section 5 B of the Kerala Education Act, 1958, the Court observed that the provision talks only about restriction on the transfer of land appurtenant to a Government School vested with local authority under Section 5A of the Act, however, in the present case, the Government School does not vest with any local authority, and therefore Section 5B of the said Act is not applicable in the instant case. Accordingly, the Court refused to interfere in the decision of the State Government to transfer land of the Government School to TRIDA for construction of bus-bay and shopping complex, and directed the respondents to cut less than ten trees and plant thrice the number of trees, which are cut in the area leased out so as to maintain sufficient green cover in the area; not cause any hindrance to the functioning of the school and construct ten class rooms in lieu of the building which shall be demolished in the process of construction of complex, as undertaken by them in the statement filed in the writ petition. Anitha S. v. State of Kerala2015 SCC OnLine Ker 12900, decided on 07.07.2015

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